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What's 4 colors printing?

Published Time:2016-05-10 Original Source:4 colors printing
What's 4 colors printing?
For the new printing buyers, will you understand what we meant when we said "four colors printing process" ? We thought it would be a good time to touch on exactly what this means.
At it's most basic definition, four colors printing is full colors printing. The same way you used to combine yellow and cyan color to make green color in art class, we use four different colors in different ratios to deliver (almost) any color you want to see.
You'll often hear 4 colors printing referred to as "CMYK". This is a reference to the four colors that are used in the process. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. From those four colors, we can deliver almost any color in the rainbow. We say almost because the four color process can't deliver colors like metallic or even the color (or lack thereof we guess) white. The only way we can create white is to apply nothing to a white sheet. Otherwise, if you need a spot white (or a metallic or some other specialty color) then it needs to be applied by another unit on the press after the four color process. This is why we have a five color press here at YellowPrinting that can go into double digits on how many colors can be applied.
Most likely, you've already seen this process in action in some way, shape, or form. The most basic example is the grade-school art class color mixing we mentioned above. To be fair, we still do that too. When we need to match a PMS color we often need to mix specific quantities of different color inks to do so.
If you've ever used a program like Photoshop or done any kind of web development, you should be quite familiar with color separations whether you realize it or not. Digital colors work similarly to print process, however they work with a different color wheel. By default, these applications use the RGB (red, green, blue) color system to get you to the final color you choose with your eye-dropper. (That six digit number you're provided is a hexadecimal representation of each the amount of each that goes into making the final color, but that's a little beyond the scope of this article.) If you're working on art for print, you need to convert your project to CMYK so the colors can be properly separated and burned to plates for print.
When you go to place your first order for printing, remember that four colors is just the proper way to indicate you want full color, but remember the limitations it brings and understands if and when you may need to use a fifth color (or more). Also remember that adding those requirements becomes expensive, as 6 and 7 color presses and printers are far less common than 4 and 5 color presses. 
Will my graphics match our PANTONE? (PMS) solid ink colors?
The technology used for offset printing is a CMYK printing process, so PMS solid ink colors are simulated using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks. To see how your PMS solid ink colors will reproduce in CMYK, we highly recommend you use a PANTONE? solid to process guide www.pantone.com.
COLOR MATCHING using the PANTONE? solid to process guide in print production. The PANTONE? solid to process guide shows what happens when you reproduce PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM? (PMS) colors in CMYK. Although many can be successfully simulated, a large majority cannot due to the limitations inherent in four-color process (CMYK) printing. The fan guide displays PANTONE? colors on stock alongside their closest four-color process match. The CMYK screen values are provided for each process color.